Eye surgery is clearly no fun, but on the whole it's better (at least he said so) than a trip to the dentist. And the good news is that my pal is ok and I learned a lot about the architecture of the human eye and how to handle such urgent situations. Some of handling such situations involves ideas that seem at first counter-intuitive, but on careful consideration they make sense.
I had very little understanding of how the eyeball is constructed and what the parts do. I mean, the light goes in through the little hole and turns itself upside-down with the aid of a lens, right? Then the image is projected on the back wall of the eyeball, which is called the retina, right? and there are some muscles and the optic nerve and it's all sort of jammed in there (carefully) and it works.
But I'll tell you - when they poke a needle into one of the four muscles that controls your eyeball, you will (according to my pal), start to realise just how wacky the whole thing is.
Anyway, here are some helpful tips that they just don't teach in school.
Hakim’s rules for emergency eye-care:
1. If you have an eye injury – UNLESS it is actually a facial injury (zygomatic, maxilla, orbital etc) and/or you are bleeding – bypass the emergency room and head straight for the nearest ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists have flexible office hours and will see you on the minute if they are able. The ER would only send you to one anyway, and cutting out the middle man could save precious minutes (or hours) that could mean the difference between blindness and recovery of sight. I learned this from arborist Steve Marshall many years ago (thanks, Dome!).
2. If you have ANY new conditions in only one eye, don't be shy about spending the $65 to see an ophthalmologist as a precautionary measure. Flashes of light, spots in front of your eyes, weird sensations – all can be indicative of trouble.
3. If you experience NEW floaters (especially hundreds or thousands of small distinct dots) in your vision in one eye go IMMEDIATELY to an ophthalmologist – this condition could be bleeding inside your eye. The dots you’re seeing could actually be red blood cells.
4. Even a feeling of change in viscosity of your tearing fluid could indicate an internal problem – the brain, receiving conflicting or anomalous signals from the eye, could actually translate that by some byzantine manner into a total mis-read of the data.
5. Retinal tears can lead to retinal detachment, so they must be treated IMMEDIATELY.
6. It does not take a trauma to create a retinal tear – it can happen in the course of a normal day, if you are of an age when the vitreous humor is changing. the vitreous humor can actually *pull* at the retinal, creating a small tear in the retinal.
7. The exam is not fun, and neither is the surgery – but as I said, it seems it's much better than a visit to the dentist, especially one where they lay you back in the chair and go to work drilling away in your mouth or pulling a tooth.
Anyway, my friend is healing well and has most of his vision back, though he still complains about ‘flaring’ in his right eye, which could be light bouncing off the remaining red blood cells floating around in his eye.